Castor’s Women’s Auxiliary has a long community history. (Kevin Sabo/Castor Advance)

Castor’s Women’s Auxiliary has a long community history. (Kevin Sabo/Castor Advance)

Women’s Auxiliary has a long history in Castor

The group has funded many pieces of equipment over the years

Castor’s Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital has a long and storied history.

It has been in continuous operation in the community since 1911, and the original structure still stands.

While many changes have occurred in health care in the decades since its beginning, community support is something that has been unwavering.

Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital is operated by Covenant Health under contract to Alberta Health Services (AHS); however, while the basic necessities and bare minimum required equipment is funded for the facility, there are items over and above that make the hospital more effective that aren’t funded.

That’s where the Hospital Women’s Auxiliary enters the conversation.

The Auxiliary was founded in February 1949 with a group of 24 ladies.

By the fall of the same year, through a variety of bake sales, raffles, craft sales, and other events the group managed to raise just shy of $400 for the hospital. By May of 1950, over $1,200 had been raised and the group was able to make a final payment on a multi-beam lamp.

In the years since, the group, which works in conjunction with the Our Lady of the Rosary Hospital Foundation, has supported every unit of the facility, the extended care unit and the community handi-van.

Recent purchases by the group include the InBody machine in the doctors clinic, nitrogen guns, 24-hour blood pressure monitors, various comfort items around the facility, and funding for recreation entertainment.

“Of late, we purchased five lift chairs for long-term care,” said Auxiliary president Mickey Hronek.

“The list goes on and on what we have purchased over the years.”

Something else the Women’s Auxiliary does is provide Christmas gifts for all the residents in long-term care, as well as provide donations Ponoka’s Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury and the Red Deer Hospital cancer unit.

According to Hronek, while the group does a significant amount of fundraising for equipment for the hospital and directly pays vendors, all purchases must be approved by the Hospital Foundation and, if necessary, Covenant Health and AHS.

The Castor Women’s Auxiliary became a registered society in 2009, which allows the volunteers to raise money by working at casinos every few few years.

Closer to home, the volunteers raise funds through annual tea and bake sales, the annual cookie walk — which just made a return in 2022 after not running for a couple years due to the pandemic — and other activities.

“It’s a great group of volunteer ladies,” said Hronek.

“It’s a very active group.”

There are currently 20 active members in the Women’s Auxiliary, who meet the fourth Thursday of every month at the Castor Evangelical Missionary Church, and more volunteers are always welcome.

For more information about volunteering with the Auxiliary, contact Hronek at 403-882-3982.

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